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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have now had my Malibu Kayaks Stealth 12 for the better part of a year. During that year I have paddled creeks, rivers, ponds, lakes, and just about anywhere else you can take a kayak. The Stealth has consistently met my expectations - often exceeding them. Here is my review of the boat.

Speed, Handling & Tracking:
It is a 12 foot boat, so it isn't the fastest yak on the market. The Stealth 14 and XF-15 are the MK boats made specifically for speed on bigger water. However, I can say that it is lightyears faster than my former boat, the Jackson Coosa and is faster than the Native Ultimate, Jackson Cuda, and other 12' boats I have paddled. It also cuts the wind quite well. It is the best all around boat I have ever paddled. As mentioned above, at 12' I can take it anywhere and it did everything from fight waves to run class II+ rapids. Although not as responsive as some river boats, it handles well and was easy to maneuver in a few tricky chutes this year. The boat also tracks quite well for a 12-footer. Again, the longer boats tend to track better, but the S-12 runs very straight. With a rudder addition, it would be as good as it gets.

I have fished from a number of fishing platforms and this has been the most stable to date. I was actually suprised that I didn't flip this boat this year because there were some spots where it easily could have - mainly running some rocky, technical chutes. But at 33" wide with a balanced hull, it is extremely stable and tends to glide over most obstacles if needed. Standing and fishing is a breeze from the standing platform and I have seen folks to about 250 lbs stand and fish out of the boat.

Overall, it is a comfortable boat and things are easy to access. It doesn't come with a seat, but you can add your own via Malibu and Crack of Dawn Paddlesports or buy one elsewhere. I have a CoD seat and while it provides great back support, it is very hard on the butt. To combat that, I had to cut a piece of foam to put under the seat for extra padding.

Fishing Features:
MK was one of the first (other than OK) to start using a built in area that can be used as a livewell, bait tank, or dry storage. Located right in front of the seat, it is easy to reach and use and works great for any of those uses. It also has a 6" clear cap, so you can access it without opening the entire tank. The Stealth also has 2 flush mount rod holders behind the seat and 2 on the sides roughly next to your shins. It has a large gator hatch which can be removed and allows a ton of storage, including rods and reels in the hull, camping gear, or whatever you prefer. The gator hatch also has a small seat that allows youth anglers/riders to sit facing the paddler in the front of the boat. There are two dry storage areas on each side of the center tank which have ample room for personal belongings and a few extras. The crate area in the back is quite large and easily fits my 4 tackle boxes, a tackle bag, and other misc. gear.

Design and Durability:
In terms of durability, it is amazing how few deep scratches are on the boat after a year. A lot of the rocky rivers I like to fish are not easy on boats - especially during the summer. But the rotomolded poly-plastic has held up great. The only durability issue I have had was that a screw plug (used for multiple things on the boat) broke. Thankfully, MK replaced it free of charge. In terms of design, I would love to see a new seating system and it has been confirmed that MK is working on a new seat for some of their yaks (including the Stealth). I would also like to see the front rod holders moved back just a little because they can be hard to reach for shorter anglers.

Other specs:
It weighs 60 lbs, which is about average for a 12' boat these days. The true length is 12'4". It has a max load/capacity of 450 lbs. It also has paddle/rod/accessory holders on each side of the boat, a molded cup holder, and can be outfitted with a ton of accessories. It has numerous scupper holes, including 2 under the seat and 2 in the rear tank well area. I have never had an issue with water coming up through the seat scuppers, but do keep the 2 in the back plugged with nerf balls.


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